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Daily Archives: May 23, 2011

Flying over the Pacific – Day 105-108

April 28th to April 30th

LA to Fiji, leg 1
My Air Pacific flight left at 11.30pm and would fly for 10hours and 40 minutes into Fiji. I then had a 4hr layover and a further 4hour and 40minute flight before I arrived… 2 days later. Since I was leaving on the 28th of April it meant that I would also miss the Royal Wedding as I flew somewhere over the Pacifc. Got to love the international date line.

I have never been able to sleep on airplanes/buses/trains or any other form of transport where you have to sit up. If I have 2 -3 seats and I can literally stretch out then there is no worries and I can usually get in enough twenty winks to be somewhat with it for the rest of the trip. As it turned out karma was against me and the flight was not only chock-a-block full but also had the token screaming baby… make that 3. I managed to watch a couple of movies but as the screens were micro sized and at a weird angle it wasn’t as enjoyable as it usually is. At one point my neighbor offered to let me try sleep in the 2 rows between him and another passenger. I managed to squeeze in and was just about to nod off when I felt a glare turned on me, turned out the other passenger had just decided she wanted those seats. So I apologised and moved back to mine, where I stared into nothingness, or rather fidgeted and sighed, for the next 5hrs.

Fiji For 4hrs
Arriving in Fiji we were greeted by a blast of hot humid air and a local band of large Fijian men wearing sarongs, playing ukeleles and with flowers in their hair. Definately made me want to stay in Fiji and explore a bit more.

For the next 4hrs I wondered around the airport and tried napping on some very hard chairs. Eventually I made a few bracelets and then finally it was boarding time. I had the exact same seat as the previous flight and I just hoped that it would give me a couple of empties to try sleep…how wrong I was!

Fiji to Sydney, leg 2
I boarded the flight and with 2 empty seats my hope started to rise, only to be dashed to smithereens as first an Aussie lady and then and Indian fella sat down next to me. Add to that the baby with an ear infection one row over and 3 more scattered through out the plane and the fact that I got to hear the entire life story of the Indian fella this was going to be a very long 4hr flight. The final straw was when our row was the only row that had a defective entertainment system. I finally gave up on sleeping and just turned to our wonderful flight attendant and coffee, much to his amusement. Then I started working on a few bracelets. I even had a Fijian guy ask to buy one, but as he had only large bills and I had no change I just gave it to him. It also means I have a contact in Fiji if I ever get there. He also introduced me to another passenger who happened to be from Tonga, so now I have a contact there too, sweet!!!!

The most amusing thing was the condensation leak from the overhead bins in the aisle next to me, led to numerous giggles as we all tried to figure out a way to prevent drippage on people.

Finally the flight landed in Sydney and I wandered through immigration, then customs line one, then stood in customs line 2 for 20minutes only to be waved through at the end… but by that point I didn’t know if I was coming or going anyway and was just happy that I was still standing upright, but I could tell that ability was rapidly coming to an end!

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in RTW, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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San Fran/Eugene/LA – Day 105-112 – Easter Surprises!

April 21st – 28th 2011

San Fran
My friend, Rachel, had to work during the day so I decided to unpack, do laundry, download photos and work on my blog. I also had the chance to go for brunch with a friend I had met in Spain. It’s always great catching up with folks you meet on your travels.

Around lunch time I decided to pop out for some food and opted for something from Safeways. I got about 5 steps in and then froze… artificial lighting, elevator music and so much food and choice… my brain could not fathom the choices. I finally decided on cheesy bread, salami and cheese. The deli lady was from El Salvadore and we chatted a bit in Spanish. Am really missing that aspect of traveling in a non-English speaking country, I truly love the challenge of communication.

The rest of the day was spent trying to sort out the nuclear bomb that appeared to have hit my bag and figure out how to get everything into one bag so that I could get it all to Eugene the next day. After some sorting and deciding and tossing out I finally managed it.
You know you are a backpacker when you can fit a closet into a bag!

Surprise!!!
I had decided to surprise my parents for easter and had managed to find some reasonably priced tickets. Keeping secrets from my mom has always been nigh impossible for me (my brother and father stopped telling me what gifts they bought her when I was 5 as I kept giving it away). But somehow I managed to keep this one under my belt and it was so worth it. My friend Sarah, picked me up from the airport, we stopped in at a store and picked up some blue bunny ears and a bunch of flowers and headed to the folks. The story was that Sarah was going to stop by and drop off something I had left in her drawer at work, this way ensuring at least one of the folks would be home.

Sarah walked up while I hid behind a hedge. Dad opened the door and the conversation went like this:
Dad: hey Sarah, how are you?
Mom: hi there Sarah
Sarah: I am good, this is what I found in my drawer
Kathy: Surprise!!
Mom: What are you doing here?
Kathy: Surprise!
Dad: yes, but what are you doing here? You are supposed to be in SF or somewhere!
Kathy: oh for pete’s sake folks don’t I get a hug!

Got to love leaving your folks essentially speechless and shell shocked! Of course that didn’t mean they would run out to get me the steak I had been craving, mainly because they had just had some for lunch.

Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday I made a store run to pick up candy and plastic easter eggs. Today my best mate, Darcie, was bringing her 2 and a half (one still incubating) kids for lunch and an easter egg hunt. Dad and I stuffed the eggs, he decided some of them should be stuffed with Bob the squirrel’s peanuts (and people wonder why I have a warped sense of life with a father like that).

Side note ~ we have a wild squirrel, dubbed Bob by my mum, who comes and literally knocks at the glass sliding door until we give him a peanut, recently he demands 2.

It was a great day with 2 beautiful girls running around trying to find the eggs and then being very good and making sure each one had the same number and not eating the candy until after lent. Then we had a fantastic steak lunch (mmmmm steak), but all good visits come to an end and it was soon time for them to head home. Its crazy to think the next time I see them there will be 3 little ones.

On the Road Again
After Easter Sunday brunch at friends, repacking and sorting my bag again, it was time to head out again. So often when you are on the road all you want is a weekend at home to recoup but it never seems possible. It was great being able to make that wish a reality, especially as it could be over 7months before Iget to see the folks again.

Living it Large in LA
My next stop was a few days with a friend in LA. I had worked with Alex at the Woodland Park Zoo and when a cheap ticket to Sydney popped up on my radar it was the perfect opportunity to catch up. Since Alex had to teach a bio lab the first day I sat in a local coffee shop and worked on blog entries. Then we went and explored some of the area around Cloverfield (the suburb she lived in). Day 2 we met up with a good friend of hers deep in the LA jungle, went for a pedicure and then headed along the coast.

A stop for some amazing seafood and then a quick break on the beach. The water was beautiful, the beach was stunning… Except for the highway behind us and the freezing temps of the ocean, it was perfect.

My last day in LA was spent relaxing, we went for a long walk to the store and then had nap time and finally finished packing. The flight to Sydney left at midnight, I hate midnight flights as I always have trouble sleeping on planes, and little did I know what this trip was going to entail.

Stay tuned for another full day of travel, this time by plane…

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in RTW, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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